The Borough Council has published its draft Local Plan this morning. It proposes 6,500 new houses in the Borough. The Plan is bittersweet for our area.
The Borough is proposing to extend the Green Belt to cover all land between West and East Malling right up to Wateringbury Road. This is great news for the hundreds of people who supported this change.
However, large new building sites are confirmed for Kings Hill, extending northward right up to Pikey Lane. 900 houses are proposed here with a new secondary school and access onto the bypass opposite the West Malling station access.
205 houses are proposed off New Road, East Malling running north from the existing entrance to EMRS.
110 houses are proposed for the field behind properties on London Road between Brickfields to Town Hill, West Malling.
12 houses are proposed for the frontage of Offham Road south of Churchfields.
9 houses are suggested on land adjacent to Larkfield Library.
The land between Hermitage Lane and Poppyfields roundabout in Aylesford, and in Borough Green sandpits has been allocated for housing in either the short or long term.
This draft is open to public consultation in September.
The report can be found on the TMBC website https://democracy.tmbc.gov.uk//ieListDocuments.aspx?Cld=159&Mid=3112&Ver=4
We are arranging a litter pick and path clearance at Four Acres for Saturday 16th June - meeting at Four Acres Village Green at 10.30am. Litter picking equipment will be provided but please bring hand tools such as rakes, brooms, secateurs and shears.
Strictly no power tools.
After being thwarted by the snow at the beginning of March, volunteers were finally able to come together at Clare Lake on 7th April for the first groundwork and litter picking event of the year. Seventeen volunteers helped to clear rubbish and vegetation, and one of the volunteers subsequently returned to mow along the edge of the Blacklands path and to create some walkways through the meadow. The vegetation will be growing quickly soon and in order to keep on top of the situation, volunteer mornings have been arranged for the first Saturday of every month - 10.30am to 12.30pm, meeting in the school turning circle at the bottom of Clare Lane. Litter picking equipment will be provided, but volunteers are asked to bring hand tools such as rakes, brooms, secateurs, and shears - but strictly no power tools, please.
If you’d like more information about the project or how you can get involved, please contact Roger by emailing him at Rouds@talktalk.net or by emailing Michelle at Michelle.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The problems caused by HGVs using High Street and Chapel Street have come to the fore again. It’s always very difficult to know whether lorries are in the area for access (which is permitted) or whether they are contravening the width restriction. So long as a lorry can get under the railway bridge, however close it looks, it is not breaching the height restriction. However, as two articulated lorries have been observed going under the railway bridge in the last week - both of them foreign - with further articulated lorries seen in Mill Street, Roger and Michelle are reviewing the signage on the approaches to consider whether any repeater signage is needed. They have also arranged to carry out a Lorry Watch session and will report their findings in the next Hotline.
If residents would be interested in helping with a regular Lorry Watch Scheme, please contact Roger by emailing him at Rouds@talktalk.net or by emailing Michelle at Michelle.email@example.com.
Kent County Council is considering the issue of the support they give to some bus services in Kent as part of its efforts to reduce the county council budget. One of the services that might be affected is Service 58 that serves East Malling and goes via Maidstone Hospital. The Parish Council continues to press for the return of service 71 along the northern section of Lunsford Lane. A consultation is promised if KCC makes a budget reduction.
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Plans have been submitted for the conversion of the barn at this site to a house. This follows the planning rules being relaxed to allow in some cases barns to be converted without the need for planning permission. The parish council felt the conversion met the rules but it will be for borough planning officers to legally decide.
East Malling Larkfield parish council has lobbied the area’s two MPs about Government plans to change the way the number of houses each district must provide which borough officers say would mean finding land for another 2,000 homes on top of the 6,500 that has already been estimated. This would mean pressure to release even more greenfield sites in the eastern end of the borough including East Malling and Larkfield as the rest of the district is in the Green Belt.
The Government’s decision is awaited.....
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, as part of its efforts to reduce overall spending, has been looking at the future management arrangements for the country park which despite its name is mostly in Larkfield with the rest in Snodland parish.
The park currently costs about £120,000 net to run. The borough also holds around £700,000 from the funds deposited by the former developers Berkley Homes towards a possible visitor centre, education room and cafe. These funds have been held since the park opened in 2003.
TMBC has obtained reports on the possible provision of a visitor centre and also on the possible business potential of the park, including the income potential of such a centre. Ideally, the Borough would like to eliminate the cost of running the site but recognises its status as a country park.
Just before Christmas parish councillors Pam Ayrton and David Thornewell met borough representatives to discuss the position. They have stressed they would like to see a well-designed cafe and visitor centre to replace the current cabins by the Ocean Lake and mobile snack bar. Such a facility if well run could reduce the overall costs. But they also stressed they would not wish to see the commercialisation of the site and that its wildlife and quiet recreational use should be kept. This includes the fishing lakes. They would oppose for example power boats on the lake. The borough promised further consultations with the parish.
Environmental Champion “Love Where You Live” awards, sponsored by Veolia, were awarded by the Mayor at a Tonbridge Castle ceremony.
Anita Oakley’s work organising (and feeding) Larkfield Litter Pickers, and East Malling volunteer Linda Bailey’s work in East Malling litter clearing group were recognised with awards.
Michelle Tatton also received an award for her work organising Clare Lake volunteers.
Michelle made a short presentation to the audience of photographs illustrating the transformation of the lake over the last few years.